Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute. Established on this site in 1860. The Mechanics' Institute movement began in British urban industrial centres in the early 1800s. A "mechanic" was a person applying skills and technology. During the 19th century, most towns in Victoria established a Mechanics' Institute or Athenaeum with a library and meeting hall. Common objects were the "spread of useful knowledge" and provision for "rational recreation" in the community. Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute was founded in 1859. The main building was constructed in 1860 and the front four-story section added in 1869. Since its inception, the Institute has been a significant centre of cultural activity and social life in Ballarat. During 2004-2013 the building was fully refurbished to return to its 19th century glory. This plaque, No. 64 in the MIV series, was unveiled on 17 November 2018 by Dr Frank Hurley OAM, MIV founding President, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Mechanics' Institutes of Victoria.